Sunday, March 20, 2011

They're All Revved Up And Ready To Go

Frank Skinner, Al Murray and Jimmy Carr have been given a hair-erasing punishment by Denise Van Outen - as a Comic Relief forfeit. The TV funnymen were left wincing as they were waxed by the West End musical theatre star after they failed to win a tasty challenge for the charity. The trio - along with Stephen Fry - launched their own flavours of Walkers Crisps, with only the best-selling comic escaping the beauty treatment. Stephen, of course, proved to be the most popular with his 'Stephen Fry-Up' flavour. The losers donned fluffy white robes to attend their session as Denise tugged at their chest and leg hair, leaving them with raw, pink skin. Stephen said 'My victory will go down in the history books - as will the other three squealing their way through that waxing session. Ouch.' Frank said: 'I'd like to say it didn't hurt but it really did - a lot.' Jimmy added: 'That was, in all seriousness, one of the most horrific experiences of my life.' Walkers donated five pence to Comic Relief for every pack sold.

Comic Relief was an outstanding ratings success for BBC1 on Friday night, attracting a peak audience of over 12.4m, overnight viewing figures indicate. Featuring contributions from Ricky Gervais, Alan Partridge and Fake That among others, the fundraiser averaged a huge 9.87m for BBC1 between 7pm and 10pm, returning with an average of 4.26m from 10.35pm until the eearly hours of Saturday morning. Despite a hefty audience share, Comic Relief was down slightly on the 2009 edition of the telethon, which peaked with 12.8m and averaged over ten million. Between 10pm and 10.35pm, when the BBC's Ten O'Clock News was broadcast on BBC1, Comic Relief continued on BBC2 with 7.21m. On ITV, following the soaps, Die Another Day grabbed 2.35m from 8.30pm till 10pm, while I, Robot had Channel Four's best audience with 1.11m from 9pm, adding one hundred and ninety thousand on C4+1. Elsewhere, Ice Road Truckers and The Mentalist held up well for Channel Five with 1.1m and 1.54m respectively. Comic Relief also blew away Channel Four's Relocation: Phil Down Under, which fell to eight hundred and fifty thousand at 8pm, while Mastermind and Gardeners' World were watched by 1.51m and 1.87m on BBC2.

EastEnders actor Joshua Pascoe is reportedly facing a police investigation over bullying accusations at his school. The actor, who plays Ben Mitchell in the BBC1 soap, has been suspended from Italia Conti Academy stage school and information regarding the allegations from two pupils has been passed on to Scotland Yard, the Sun reports. Pascoe denies the claims, but won't be allowed back until the matter is resolved. He is being home-schooled in order to continue working on the show, a legal requirement for under sixteens. A 'source' allegedly revealed: 'Staff have agreed to let him carry on studying at home under the auspices of the school in order to keep his licence. Without it, he would have to leave the soap.' Scotland Yard said: 'We can confirm police have received third-party information relating to several alleged incidents at a local school. Matters are at an early stage.' EastEnders declined to comment, but a 'source' allegedly told the paper: 'It's not an issue for us because we have no evidence of a problem.' Pascoe joined the soap last year, taking over the role from Charlie Jones. - who is 'a singer', apparently - is reportedly furious with Cher Lloyd after she complained that Cheryl Cole hadn't called her since The X Factor finished. The Black Eyed Peas singer, who has recorded a duet with Lloyd, apparently 'read her the riot act' for saying that her former mentor is 'more interested in becoming famous in the States.' He is insisting that Lloyd apologises to The Heaton Horror if they are to continue working on material together. According to the Sun son this is probably all bollocks. 'Will called Cher to tell her that she has got too big for her boots,' a 'source' allegedly told the paper. 'He has put a lot of money and effort into recording new tracks for her. He can't work with an immature baby and won't support her if she throws it back in people's faces.' Meanwhile Cher - as in 'Sonny and ...' - has, according to that bastion of truth Now magazine, 'angered Cher Lloyd fans' by asking her followers on Twitter who her X Factor namesake is. Well, how very dare she.

Simon Pegg reportedly wants The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band's 'I'm The Urban Spaceman' played at his funeral. He said: 'As a sci-fi buff, it sounds fairly relevant. And it's a happy song. You don't want a dirge at those things. You want people to hear you talking from beyond the grave, saying, "Don't be too upset. You'll be here soon."' Thanks for that cherry thought, Si.

British Swimming has announced a four-year rights deal with the BBC to broadcast all aquatic sports ahead of the 2012 Olympics in London and beyond. Events to be broadcast across all platforms include the FINA Diving World Series next month and the European Synchronised Swimming Champions Cup – both in Sheffield – as well as the trials for the GB swimming team and the test event for the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park from 3 to 10 March 2012. 'The BBC has worked with swimming for many years and we welcome this renewed commitment from them as we follow the journey of our elite athletes to the Games in London and beyond,' said the chief executive of British Swimming, David Sparkes. Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: 'We have a rich heritage of covering aquatic sports on the BBC and are delighted to be in a position to continue this commitment at what is a key time for the sport with the London 2012 Olympics on the horizon.'

Channel Six has claimed that it will create more than two thousand UK jobs if it is selected to deliver the government's proposed new national channel for providing local services. The organisation, led by former Trinity Mirror executive Richard Horwood, recently submitted a bid to the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt to take on the new channel, which would have a national schedule with local opt-outs. Under the Channel Six proposal, which is backed Scottish broadcaster STV, the local TV channel would launch on Freeview, satellite and cable in early 2013, backed by a network of up to thirty nine local affiliates. By 2016, the channel would cover around eioghty per cent of UK housholds on Freeview, along with more than eleven million homes via satellite (Freesat and Sky), and three and a half million homes over Virgin Media's cable TV network - totalling some ninety two per cent of the country. It would also be broadcast online via IPTV. Horwood, the chief executive of Channel Six, said that the channel would create 'a brand-new, profitable, dynamic creative industry around local TV,' leading to the creation of around two thousand direct and indirect jobs, of which seventy per cent would be outside of London. 'The national backbone Channel Six will be a major new national commercial TV channel, set up with the sole purpose of supporting our network of thirty nine new affiliate local services, not a rejigging of an existing channel,' he said. 'With the support of the national network and our local partners, each of our local affiliates will be a profitable business in its own right, and will serve as a hub for original local programming. In total the affiliates will be producing more than nine thousand hours hours of original local programming a year by 2017, both in-house and commissioned.' Channel Six claims that the proposed channel would have a programme budget bigger than Channel Five - and, as a bonus, no equivalent of OK! TV - and spend roughly the same amount per viewer as BBC2. The organisation has also partnered with universities and colleges around the UK to tap into emerging media talent. Horwood said that each local affiliate connected with the channel would create third-party jobs in areas such as sales, marketing, support and production. Local business would also benefit from 'an affordable and cost-effective opportunity to harness the unique power of broadcast TV to engage directly with their customers. Our close collaboration with existing local media businesses will help protect the future of jobs in local journalism, which continues to face an array of unprecedented economic challenges,' said Horwood. 'Channel Six is more than a vision. It is supported by a detailed and fully costed business plan developed by the Channel Six management team in collaboration with ITN Consulting.' He added: 'The team is made up of highly experienced broadcasting and communications professionals, including some of the UK's pioneers in local television, digital terrestrial broadcasting, online media and broadband networks, all united by a passion for creating successful new media businesses.' However, Channel Six faces tough competition for the local TV channel from more than thirty other bidders, including Greg Dyke's Local TV Network and a proposal from Channel Four.

The next series of Merlin will have a thirteen episodes, despite earlier reports that the run would be reduced to ten. SFX discovered this while interviewing executive producer Johnny Capps, and the BBC has now officially confirmed the number. 'We're no longer reduced episodes,' says Capps. 'There was talk there would ten, but there will be thirteen. We were very lucky with series three – it was hugely successful and we built our audience throughout, so I think the BBC now sees it as one of their most important Autumn dramas, especially for a Saturday night.'

Dom Joly has broken his foot filming Celebrity Total Wipeout. He had to fly back early from the assault course in Argentina after breaking three of the five metatarsals in his left foot. 'Adrenaline allowed me to somehow finish the course, but I was then whisked off to hospital in a most unglamorous manner and my trip was over,' he said.

Margaret Thatcher's antipathy to the BBC surfaces in the thirty thousand documents newly released by The Thatcher Archive. A suggestion by Bernard Ingham, her press secretary, that she might give an interview to Panorama is annotated with a decisive 'No.' Instead, she gave her first television interview as prime minister to the former Labour MP turned commentator Brian Walden on ITV's Weekend World, even though the programme had to wait for the end of the lengthy 1979 ITV technicians' strike. A handwritten note of thanks to the Downing Street political office for the Christmas 1979 gift of a portable radio says: 'Thank you a thousand times for solving a perpetual family feud as to who should have the radio by providing us with another one. Now we can all listen to the Today programme and all complain to the BBC!' Not all BBC staff were unwelcome, however. The BBC news correspondent Michael Cole wrote following a lunch at Chequers to suggest she should hold regular televised press conferences – an innovation eventually taken up by Tony Blair – and to bemoan: 'One looks in vain in Britain for [a commentator] who will take a radical but right-wing view of events.'

And, spekaing of right-wing scumbags, Glenn Beck has hinted that he might leave the FOX News network when his current contract expires at the end of this year. During a discussion about his future plans on his syndicated radio programme earlier this week, Beck responded to a recent New York Times article which claimed that FOX News executives have tired of the TV host's often-controversial views. While not directly commenting on contract negotiations, the talk show host quipped that 'the only thing in life that is constant is change.' Beck then promised his fans that, regardless of his future on the cable channel, he will always find a way to communicate his message. He said: 'I know that we'll continue to find each other whether on the radio, the Internet, on stage, in movie theatres, in the pages of books that the New York elite will never read or on FOX that the New York elite will never watch.' Good for the New York elite, I reckon. Avoiding him is one way to minimise pollution. Last year, Beck was involved embroiled in a public feud with James Cameron after the Avatar filmmaker challenged the pundit to a political policy debate.

Katie Price has reportedly been offered a reality TV show in Argentina. The potential series would also star Argentinian model Leandro Penna, whom she is currently dating after they met at Sir Elton John's post-Oscars party in LA. Penna told the Daily Lies: 'I'm going to take Katie to Argentina because they will love her over there.' Yeah, I imagine she'll go down a total storm with all the Falklands veterans. 'We've been offered our own reality TV show. There are lots of shows that we could do but some of them are very tacky. Kate is too special for a show like that. It would have to be classy.'

We've got a big, broad, massive and hard for the next Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day. A celebration of the Kings of Queens, a recognition of respect for Da Brothas. Ladies and gentlemen, look after your leathers, bop till ya drop and prepare to sweat. Hey Ho, Let's go.All rock and roll, dear blog reader. should be as big, as loud, and dumbly genius as The Ramones. Onetwothreefour.Want another anthem? Go, Joey, go. Here they are, at home at CBGBs, preaching acceptance to the kids!And another one. This one's from the legendary It's Alive! New Year's Eve show at the Rainbow.Mind you, they weren't all three chord thrashes. One or two, even have four chords! As this Whistle Test performance proves!They made great videos too, although they didn't often do much in them! And when they finally go to work with Phil Spector, you got one of the greatest records ever made by anybody. So let's end back at the beginning, before they even had a recording contract, just a load of one minute fifty three second songs that all started with 'onetwothreefour,' and sounded stunning.